What I read today

1 Samuel 7-8; Psalm 121; Lamentations 3; Matthew 4; Revelation 19-20

Since the death of Joshua Israel had been “ruled” by a series of Judges.  Each time the Judge would pass away the Israelites would fall back into idolatry, and God would send nations to attack them until the people would return to God.  It seemed like a never-ending cycle.

Now the people wanted a monarchy.

They thought that somehow if they had a continuous line of Kings that would save them from the invading enemies that surrounded them.

Samuel was hurt.  He had been the judge of Israel most of his life.  But the people saw a repeat of Eli coming.  Eli’s sons had been evil in God’s site and not followed in their father’s footsteps.  God removed the family of Eli from the priesthood and placed Samuel in his place.  Now it appeared that Samuel’s sons were heading down the same path.

Enough was enough.  The people now wanted to be like the other nations.  They wanted a King to rule over them.  They wanted a government that took care of them and made sure they were secure.

Samuel took it personally.

God comforted Samuel by saying to him, “It’s not you that they reject Samuel, it’s me.”

God was supposed to be the ruler of the people.  They were supposed to put their trust in God.  That never happened.  So God gave them what they wanted.  It’s a cautionary tale.  Sometimes when we demand something so much that God finally says, “OK if that’s what you want here you go.” When that happens, things don’t always go the way we planned.  Samuel warns the people.  The government will demand taxes, allegiance, your young people for the military, your land and ultimately your lives.  Don’t complain when suddenly, you find them to be burdensome.  You asked for this.

Today we have people who want the government to do everything for them.  They want the government to provide health care, security, prosperity, end injustice, end poverty, and end hunger.  The problem is that when people gain power, it becomes the ultimate drug.  Once you have power, you tend to want it for all the wrong reasons.  Isreal would find that out after David.  The kings would become more and more corrupt.  Eventually leading to the downfall of the nation.

Today we see what a weak government can indeed accomplish.  We see republicans and democrats fighting constantly. The ones who are supposed to serve now believe they should be the helped.  We’ve put our trust and faith in government, and we’ve gotten what we deserve.

It’s time to put our trust and faith where it truly belongs.  Back to God who can actually rescue us from the mess that we the people have made.  We need the church to go back to focusing on changing peoples hearts and minds.  We need Christians to go back to spreading the good news instead of arguing about political issues.  We need churches that spend time in God’s word.

We should remain active in our communities with our votes, caring for people, speaking out on issues and being salt and light.  But we must once and for all put our faith where it belongs!

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